Norway today opened hearings on a proposal to amend the country's constitution to provide for separation of church and state, according to Mainichi Daily News. A State-Church Panel recommended the move after three years of study. (See prior posting.) The government has asked 2,500 people and groups, including every congregation and city in Norway, to comment on the Panel's proposal by Dec. 1. For 469 years, the Church of Norway has been the established church in the country. With its Lutheran ideology, the Church of Norway is funded by the government that also hires its clergy. About 86% of Norway's population are formally members of the Church. However, since registration at birth is automatic, a far smaller number are actually active members.